Add one more reason why the Illini are a classy team: Chief Illiniwek stayed in Champaign. Thanks to MDS at CerebralFan for the tip. Remember all those stories about how this magical season is distracted by the protests from Chief Illiniwek? Oh that's right: there aren't any. Someone in Urbana had the good sense to leave the white dude jumping around in a fake Indian costume at halftime back where he belongs - back home with the rest of the stuff we have outgrown. We might smile at how people actually believed it was OK to dance around in an Indian suit back then and hold no ill will towards those days, but when the country pays attention, we drop that headdress like a hot potato and compete with more dignity. And somehow, that leaves the symbol of the state's flagship public University just right. We pay our respects to the tribe that gave our state our name without any clownish antics, just a nod to our origins. We ought to let the halftime dance at home fade into memory as well.
UPDATE: Chris Rhodes of the joincrossblog calls into question my alumni status (97 LAS, by the way) because he correctly notes here that Chief Illiniwek does not appear at *any* away games. That's in part because some campuses won't permit him (the University of Minnesota comes to mind). If Cheif Illiniwek isn't welcome elsewhere as a relic of 1950s-era thinking, perhaps we should let our home games catch up to the rest of the world. Elite programs don't have controversial mascots.
One other interesting wrinkle: the House Republicans have been using the "Keep the Chief" issue very well in Champaign County for years -- well done, Chapin Rose -- but I wonder how well it plays in the rest of the state.